Pickens writes "Farhad Manjoo has a provocative story at Slate asserting that while the iPhone has prompted millions of people to join AT&T, it has also hurt the company's image because all of those customers use their phones too much, and AT&T's network is getting crushed by the demand. The typical smartphone customer consumes about 40 to 80 megabytes of wireless capacity a month, while the typical iPhone customer uses 400 MB a month. As more people sign up, local cell towers get more congested, and your own phone performs worse. He says the problem is that a customer who uses 1 MB a month pays the same amount as someone who uses 1,000 MB, and the solution is tiered pricing. 'Of course, users would cry bloody murder at first,' writes Manjoo. 'I'd call on AT&T to create automatic tiers — everyone would start out on the $10/100 MB plan each month, and your price would go up automatically as your usage passes each 100 MB tier.' He says the key to implementing the policy is transparency, and that the iPhone should have an indicator like the battery bar that changes color as you pass each monthly tier. 'Some iPhone fans will argue that metered pricing would kill the magic of Apple's phone — that sense of liberation one feels at being able to access the Internet from anywhere, at any time. The trouble is, for many of us, AT&T's overcrowded network has already killed that sense, and now our usual dealings with Apple's phone are tinged with annoyance.'"
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